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View Full Version : Colossus and the "Workstation Sound"


musicalm
05-26-2005, 05:22 AM
I am curious if Colossus can truly replace the "workstation sound" such as the sheen that's found in the Korg line of synths. I really love that sound and have yet to find something that can do it in a plug in...

matthew

MacQ
05-26-2005, 09:13 AM
Well, in my opinion, Colossus doesn't really shoot for that sound. The instruments in Colossus are of very high quality ... you could actually use them in a solo-situation without calling in a session player for the same thing. This in opposition to the Triton, which really excels at other kinds of sounds.

For plugins, the closest I've found to "hardware rompler" style is Luxonix Ravity, Steinberg/Wizoo Hypersonic, and USB UltraFocus. They capture that flavour pretty well. What I've spent time doing, though, is sampling my favourite patches and recreating them in Kontakt 2. Not identical to the Triton/XV5080 versions maybe, but very, very close. Looping in something like Sound Forge (on a PC) is dead-easy to do, since the loops in hardware romplers are generally pretty easy to find (they're usually very short). The sampling option works best for acoustic instruments, like the guitars and drums of the Triton/XV5080, which ironically are not the high points of these instruments. For synthetic textures and that "Korg" flavour, definitely also check out the Korg Legacy Collection. There's a plugin included called the "Legacy Cell" which is great blend of effects and synths in a single monotimbral interface. It also includes a plugin called the MDEX, which from what I can tell is the Triton FX section (or based on the same algorithms) in a multi-effect for VST and AU. It's really quite versatile, and I'm very fond of some of the unique effects it can produce. (Well, unique, or just time consuming to do with other things, like the LCR delay, etc, great on vocals.)

So, Colossus, definitely great (I'll be ordering for my next project), and for software that has a "hardware" sound, check out Luxonix Ravity and Steinberg/Wizoo Hypersonic. Sampletank 2 and Sonik Synth ... they sort of have a sound that's useable. But they're sloppy. I'll actually say it: sloppy loop points, sloppy multi-sampling ... I don't care about the "we have 5,000 patches!!" claims. To me it's about quality, and about the "will this fit in my tracks" factor. And load times, as well ... Ravity, Hypersonic, UltraFocus (and any hardware rompler) are near instant ... SampleTank and the like (which I do own by the way), take a few seconds to load, and the payoff isn't worth it.

Different tools for different things. Colossus sounds amazing, but those others are worthy additions to your sound pallette. Of course, this is all in my opinion, and clearly your mileage may vary.

Have fun!

~MacQ

dpasdernick
05-26-2005, 09:42 AM
MacQ,

Good points except those regarding ultrafocus. Ultrafocus is more of an Atmosphere type of synth. Not really a workstation. There are no saxes, real brass, pianos, guitars, etc. It's a high-end synth. Lots of sounds but it's not a "swiss army knife" of run of the mill sounds.

I too would love to see a Korg triton or Roland fantom in a VST version but I suppose that would be a tough spot for the hardware guys to put themselves in.

The good news for Mathew and the rest of us is that you can buy several VST's for a lot less than a Triton or a Fantom.


All the very best,

Darren

musicalm
05-26-2005, 10:42 AM
Well, in my opinion, Colossus doesn't really shoot for that sound. The instruments in Colossus are of very high quality ... you could actually use them in a solo-situation without calling in a session player for the same thing. This in opposition to the Triton, which really excels at other kinds of sounds.

That's what I thought. I've already got this territory covered pretty well. I'm really after the nice synthetic Korg sounds you mention.


For plugins, the closest I've found to "hardware rompler" style is Luxonix Ravity, Steinberg/Wizoo Hypersonic, and USB UltraFocus. They capture that flavour pretty well.


Do any of these come close to acheiving the Korg sound? UltraFocus seems to be more focused on older sounds from what I've been able to tell. I've heard good things about Ravity but can't really tell if it even comes close to the Korg sound or not.


What I've spent time doing, though, is sampling my favourite patches and recreating them in Kontakt 2. Not identical to the Triton/XV5080 versions maybe, but very, very close. Looping in something like Sound Forge (on a PC) is dead-easy to do, since the loops in hardware romplers are generally pretty easy to find (they're usually very short). The sampling option works best for acoustic instruments, like the guitars and drums of the Triton/XV5080, which ironically are not the high points of these instruments.


Not an option for me since I've never owned a Korg. I only started really spending on this stuff a couple years ago and decided to stay virtual for many reasons. The acoustic stuff really isn't as interesting to me as I'm pretty happy with what I've got in that area.


For synthetic textures and that "Korg" flavour, definitely also check out the Korg Legacy Collection. There's a plugin included called the "Legacy Cell" which is great blend of effects and synths in a single monotimbral interface. It also includes a plugin called the MDEX, which from what I can tell is the Triton FX section (or based on the same algorithms) in a multi-effect for VST and AU. It's really quite versatile, and I'm very fond of some of the unique effects it can produce. (Well, unique, or just time consuming to do with other things, like the LCR delay, etc, great on vocals.)


I have seen this and have wondered about it but it really seems more focused on older Korg stuff. Does it actually work for synthetic Trinity / Triton style sounds? That's the sound I'm after. My dream would be for them to add this to the Legacy Collection. I'd be all over that for sure... :)


Sampletank 2 and Sonik Synth ... they sort of have a sound that's useable. But they're sloppy. I'll actually say it: sloppy loop points, sloppy multi-sampling ... I don't care about the "we have 5,000 patches!!" claims. To me it's about quality, and about the "will this fit in my tracks" factor. And load times, as well ... Ravity, Hypersonic, UltraFocus (and any hardware rompler) are near instant ... SampleTank and the like (which I do own by the way), take a few seconds to load, and the payoff isn't worth it.


It's interesting to hear you say this. I've been considering the ongoing group buy bundle, but am suspicious that something like this must be the case. The demo really isn't deep enough to tell for sure. I've made a post asking Squids if Sonik Synth can approach the Korg sound also. It will be interesting to hear what he says. What are your thoughts on this? Can it come close?

So in general it sounds like Colossus isn't for me since I've got dedicated libraries for most natural acoustic sounds (although it's an excellent option for someone just starting out), but you've been very helpful with other information on how I might approach the Korg sound in a plug in...

matthew

MacQ
05-26-2005, 03:53 PM
Hi,

UltraFocus, though marketed as a "classic synth anthology", is actually quite versatile. While it doesn't have the "real" sounds, and it doesn't do drums or percussion, it DOES offer a LOT of great and useable patches, with that incredible hardware "sheen". It's hard to describe, but it sounds lovely. :)

Regarding Sonik Synth, it's ... a mixed bag. Some stuff is great, but the majority of the stuff I've tried is lacking. Some of the drum kits are interesting (only the acoutic ones since the electronic kits are awful to my tastes). It's also cool I guess for people who long for the really esoteric sounds of the limited-availability synthesizers of yesteryear. But for me, those kinds of sounds don't have enough of the kind of sheen or presence that I'm looking for (and would find in a hardware module from Korg/Roland/Yamaha). But I'm also not someone who owns or really pines after ImpOscar or any of the Moog clones, so take that how you will. An emulation of an old sound is cool, I guess ... but ... where does it go from there? Haven't we heard that flavour? I'm fond of synths like Atmosphere and UltraFocus for that reason ... they take the old, and mix it with the new, and mangle it with effects and granular processing and all kinds of stuff until it comes out "new".

I'm from the school of producer who likes to be excited NOW. I don't want to have to mix my sounds and layer effects and tweak EQ to make it INTERESTING, let alone have it fit in the mix. I want instant inspiration, and I want my hands to want to play the keyboard "on their own". Do you know what I mean?

Anyway, Ravity is a great bet for Korg-esque. It sounds somewhat ... hmm ... diluted, but I think that's because of the compression they're using to fit the samples into such a small size. Hypersonic doesn't usually sound as hyped as I'd like, but it has the broadest variety of sounds. The drums suck, though. Haha! UltraFocus is fantastic, and a very worthwhile buy -- great sounds, great engine. And the Korg Legacy, sounds phenomenal. There's a LOT to be said for the quality of the patch programmers who put their talents into that thing. The Wavestation is Korg in every way, and on so many records that it's almost ubiquitous with "rompler" sounds of the 90's.

So, if I had to do it all again, those four would top it: Ravity, Hypersonic, Korg Legacy, UltraFocus.

Edit: Regarding Dave (Squids) at Sonic Reality, the guy is a top-notch salesman and musician. He'll tell you "yes, absolutely ... Korg x 1000", but he's also selling his product. I don't have the same musical tastes as he does, clearly, and that's why I'm not terribly fond of his products. Great guy though, I just don't dig the sounds.

Good luck,

~MacQ

musicalm
05-26-2005, 05:19 PM
MacQ,

Thanks for all the detailed info. I'll probably check the demo of the Ravity at some point. And I think I just added UltraFocus and Legacy to my demo list for sure and will be likely to go there also. As for the Steinberg product, I avoid them like the plague. I'm a happy Logic user and have never been too happy with what I've seen coming from their end. The lack of interest they usually express a year after they put out a synth is enough to convince me to look elsewhere...

Thanks again! Your words are very helpful! I also come from the school of thought you do I believe and it sounds like you've had a bit more hands on experience with these products than I have so it really is very helpful!

matthew

Evan
05-26-2005, 05:25 PM
well Ive got a korg Karma that I'll sell for $1000 ;)

musicalm
05-27-2005, 07:22 AM
Thanks, but I really want to stay totally virtual. The ability to have total recal of a song without worrying about anything outside the computer and without having any extra space taken up is just too compelling for me. I'll find something that covers the sounds I'm after eventually and then will have everything I need... :)

matthew